Monday, November 18

Interview & Giveaway: Just Desserts by Barbara Bretton

Just Desserts

Just Desserts
Barbara Bretton

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: originally Berkley, now a digital indie reprint

Date of Publication: original 2008, digital 2013

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: ~88000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Smashwords     iTunes
Hayley had sworn off bad boys until Finn Rafferty set out to win her heart...

Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage had finally drummed the truth into her head. In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.

Hayley Maitland Goldstein knew all about how these things worked. First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.

But then Finn Rafferty came into her life and everything changed.

Hayley should have seen the kiss coming but it surprised her just the same. He had been looking at her with a crazy kind of unfocused intensity and she had been about to ask him if he was having a stroke when she realized she was about to be kissed by a man she actually wanted to kiss back.

Every now and then life handed you a perfect moment but the secret was figuring out how to make it last.
Trish, one of the high school girls Hayley was currently mentoring, burst into the kitchen looking like she had just bumped into Justin Timberlake and then ricocheted off Johnny Depp.

“There’s two guys outside who want to see you and they’re unbelievably hot!” Trish was seventeen, the age when the arrival of any biped with a Y chromosome rated a breathless announcement. “One of them looks like a rock star from, you know, way back in the eighties.”

Ouch. She had been Trish’s age in the eighties.

“A rock star?” she asked, lifting a brow. Rock stars were in short supply in Lakeside.

“A rock star,” Trish confirmed. “And he’s wearing leather.”

There was only one reason an aging leather-clad hottie would show up at Goldy’s Bakery at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon and it had nothing to do with brownies, cheesecake, or bagels.

“Tell him Mr. Goldstein doesn’t live here anymore.” And that Mrs. Goldstein couldn’t be happier about it. Not even sending him his monthly share of the store’s profits dimmed her joy.

“But he didn’t ask for Mr. Goldstein. He asked for you.”

Why did that surprise her? She was the Goldstein with a bank balance, after all. It had been a while since someone had come looking for her ex but the knot in her stomach was painfully familiar. The faint stench of danger still lingered in the air. She wished she had a dollar for every angry enabler who had shown up at Goldy’s in search of the reluctant Mr. Goldstein. She’d be able to buy him out once and for all and still have money to spare.

“Then tell him I’m not here.”

“But, Mrs. G., I already told him you were.”

“Then tell him the truth,” she said. “I’m busy working on a cake that should have been finished an hour ago. I can’t spare a second.” And here she’d thought her life would settle down after Michael moved to Florida to mooch off his mother. The man’s problems had the half-life of uranium.

Trish rearranged her pretty features into an even prettier frown. “He really wants to see you, Mrs. G. Maybe—”

Hayley could feel the hot breath of the Cumberland County Association of Female Realtors on the back of her neck. She whipped out The Look, the same look every mother on the planet had down cold, aimed it in Trish’s direction, then hoped for the best.

“I’ll tell him,” Trish mumbled, then pushed through the swinging door to deliver the bad news.

The Look had stopped working on Lizzie when she was seven, but it was nice to know she still had enough maternal firepower at her command to keep her young staff in line.

She pressed her ear against the swinging door but she couldn’t make out Trish’s words, just a high apologetic string of female sounds that was followed by a male rumble. Leather Boy had a good voice, baritone, a little smoky. She couldn’t make out his words either but Trish’s answering giggle conjured up some painful memories of herself at that age.

First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.

She listened closer. Trish said something girly. Leather Boy rumbled something manly. This time Rachel, her other counter girl for the week, giggled too, a sound that sent Hayley’s maternal early-warning system into overdrive.

Rachel Gomez was a serious straight-A student bound for Princeton next year on full scholarship. She needed the paycheck more than any mentoring Hayley might have provided her. Rachel had probably never giggled before in her life.

If Rachel giggled, then even Lizzie might not be immune. Fourteen was when it started, that fizzy sensation in your veins, the yearning for things you couldn’t define, the sudden realization that boys were infinitely more interesting than global warming or the fate of the humpback whale.

Fourteen was also when young girls parted company with their self-confidence and traded in their love of math and science for a date for the prom.

Sometimes she wanted to lock Lizzie away in her room with her computer, her books, and a cell phone (maybe), and not let her out again until she was twenty-one. Thirty sounded better but even fantasies had their limits. The advisor at Olympia Prep had suggested that Lizzie might be better served intellectually by skipping the rest of high school and starting college in the fall but Hayley was dead set against it. Lizzie might be brilliant when it came to science but when it came to life, she was still only fourteen.

The world could be a scary place. A mother did her best to protect her kid from fast cars, drunk drivers, broken bones, flu, the common cold, but there was nothing she could do to protect her kid from growing up. No matter what you did or how well you did it, your little girl wasn’t going to stay a little girl. Right before your eyes she was going to grow up on you anyway and all you could do was pray she didn’t follow in your foolish footsteps.

Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage to Michael Goldstein had finally drummed the truth into her head. People didn’t change with time. They just became more of who they were to begin with.

In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.

Why didn’t women teach their young how to cope with the things that were really important instead of how to walk in their first pair of heels? Why didn’t they make a point of sitting their girl children down and telling them the truth about men instead of letting some guy in a leather jacket seduce them over a tray of black-and-white cookies?

That was one of the many reasons why she had helped institute the mentoring program at the high school. Lizzie claimed her overflow worrying needed an outlet but it went far deeper. She saw herself in those girls, insecure, struggling, hungry for love, and ready to hand over their futures to the first guy who came along.

Those idiot girls out there were like ripe fruit on a very low-hanging branch. The slightest breeze would be enough to shake them from the tree and into the waiting arms of Leather Boy or someone just like him and their entire lives would be changed forever.

Except it wasn’t going to happen on her watch. With apologies to the good real estate agents of Cumberland County, it was time to prepare for battle.


Today, we welcome Barbara Bretton to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give her a big Geeky welcome!
Thanks so much for inviting me to join you!
I have some questions for you that are writer specific as well as some fun stuff so that we can really get to know the real you. *grin* Plus we will finish things off with round of Think Fast. Ready to begin?
Definitely ready!
Writing Specific
1. Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I am an only child, only grandchild, only niece (and nephew too!) Until I was seven or eight, I was also the only young child on my block. I grew up in a world of adults and never quite fit in with kids my own age as a result. We were a book-loving family and I started reading at an insanely early age (around three-ish) and that definitely shaped the person I became.
2. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read, cook, and knit. A friend of mine can do both simultaneously but I’m an all-or-nothing person and can’t manage that particular feat. I’ve been known to devour two books in one day when I’m on a roll. Knitting? Not so much. I’m more of a slow and deliberate knitter. I like to extend the process as long as possible. Cooking is a part of daily life and pure pleasure.
3. How did you choose the genres you write in?
I don’t think I chose my genres. I believe my genres chose me. I went with my natural inclination toward romance which happened to coincide with the explosion of category romances (I was a launch author for Harlequin American) and it proved to be a comfortable fit.
4. Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
I would have to say the author Betty Smith and her classic “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” had a profound influence on me, both as a writer and as a human being. I grew up in Queens (which, if you don’t know, is Brooklyn-adjacent!) and I knew and understood the world Betty Smith described in her novel. I knew those people and loved them. Smith brought them to life on the page with such ease and empathy and skill that Francie Nolan and her family were as real to me as anyone I knew beyond the pages of a book.
5. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism was given to me years ago by my beloved first agent. It took me years to fully grasp what she meant by it and I’ll admit my feelings were hurt for a long time. But she was right. One hundred percent right. She said, “You need to write from your heart and not your head,” which was exactly what I thought I’d been doing from day one. Wrong! I’d been holding back, protecting myself from who knows what. Actually, I do know: writers can run but they can’t hide. If you’re going to make a career out of writing novels, you’re going to end up revealing things about your self, your heart and soul, that you’d probably never share even with your closest friend or dearest family member. I believe my writing improved immeasurably when I finally listened to her advice and let down my barriers.
The best compliment? Any time a reader says, “Your characters are so real that I feel like they live next door to me.” That makes me happier than I can express.
Fun Stuff
6. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
John and Abigail Adams. I have had a “couple crush” on the since I was an eighteen-year-old newlywed and would love the chance to spend some time with them. I probably wouldn’t say a word: just stare at them and soak up their words of wisdom.
7. You are going to be stranded on a deserted island and bring 3 luxury items. What would they be?
Bal a Versaille perfume. Clinique pencil eyeliner. My Kindle, which would be equipped with a magical everlasting charge.
8. Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who are they and why?
Kris Kardashian Jenner and Bruce Jenner.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Sandra Bullock. I would eat well and laugh a lot.
9. What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Sriracha. Gruyere cheese. Fourteen fresh brown eggs. Butter. Skim Plus. Greek yogurt. Deli sliced turkey. Eight lemons. Romaine lettuce. Hot bean sauce. Sweet bean sauce. Oyster sauce. Thai red curry paste. Two slices of leftover homemade pizza.
10. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
It’s A Wonderful Life
Think Fast
Summer or Winter? Winter
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Cake or Pie? Cake
Car or Truck? Truck
Print or Electronic? Electronic

Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
Be happy! Life is too short for anything else. Whenever possible, choose to do the things that bring joy into your life. The advice is simple, but its power is anything but.
Thanks so much for hosting me!


This Blog: 2 audio book digital downloads 

Tour wide: Two Kindle Paperwhites

Book Tour Info: 
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Tour:

November 18:
Musings and Ramblings - Interview
Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews

November 19:
Mythical Books - Guest Post
Literal Hotties Naughty Book Reviews
Shut Up & Read

November 20:
Buffy's Ramblings - Guest Post

November 21:
Books & Tales
Deb Sanders - Review
Queen of the Night Reviews - Review

November 22:
Sarah Ballance - Guest Post
Extaordinaryreads - Review

November 25:
AC James
Musings From An Addicted Reader - Review

November 26:
Roxanne’s Realm
Who's Reviews - Review

November 27:
Pembroke Sinclair - Interview

November 29:
Bitten By Love Reviews - Interview
Writing Novels That Sell - Guest Post
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic - Review

December 2:
Sapphyria's Book Reviews
Cover Reveals

Author Bio:

Oh, how I hate bios! All of that deadly dull information about name (Barbara Bretton) and date of birth (June 25) and geographical data (born in New York City; lives near Princeton, NJ), marital status (many years married), and hobbies (who has time??). How do you gather up all of those dull, dry facts and turn them into something interesting?

No wonder I tell lies for a living.

I considered weaving a story for you about life on a houseboat on the French Riviera. Or maybe my years as a concubine, hidden away in a golden pleasure palace in the shimmering desert. Then I decided to do the unthinkable and tell you the truth.

When I sold my first book and my life changed forever. I sent in my manuscript on Thursday February 21, 1982 and four days later the telephone rang and I heard the amazing words, "We want to buy your book." How I wish you could have seen me. I was standing by the kitchen door of our North Babylon house, the picture of cool sophistication, as I listened to Vivian Stephens explain the terms of the deal to me. You would have thought I'd sold a first book every single day of my life. Yes, I said. Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for calling. I look forward to our association. That cool sophistication hung on until I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, then promptly threw up on my shoes.

I was thirty-one years old, unagented, unschooled, unfamiliar with anything to do with the business of publishing. To put it mildly, I was in shock. My husband was working in Manhattan at the time (and finishing up his degree at night) so it would be hours until I could break the news to him. This was too exciting to waste on a phone call. I wanted to see his face when I told him that my dream had finally come true -- and came with a $6000 advance!

He pulled into the driveway at midnight. I was waiting in the doorway, holding a bottle of champagne and two glasses. I didn't have to say a word. He knew right away and the look of joy and pride in his eyes warms me now, years later, long after the advance faded into memory.

A lot has happened to me in the years since that first sale. I've learned that this is a difficult and demanding business (it takes a tough writer to write a tender book) and that I am happiest when I am most ignorant. I've also learned that a good friend, a writer and pal who truly understands, is worth her weight in good reviews and royalty checks.

I fell madly in love with Skye O'Malley in early 1982 and wrote an unabashedly gushy fan letter to our beloved Bertrice Small. By the time Sunny answered, I had joined the ranks of the published and Sunny became friend and mentor, guide and confidant. She has held my hand through broken dreams, disappointments, family illnesses, and accepted my bizarre need to go underground from time to time with great affection and understanding. Over the years I've come to understand the difference between the writer and her work, that loving the book doesn't guarantee that I will love the author. But what a joy it is when you discover that the author of a beloved favorite is even more wonderful and witty and wise than the characters she creates.

So this bio is for you, Sunny, for being the best of friends during the worst of times and -- even more wonderful -- during the good times as well.

And now for the statistics:

Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.

Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.

Her awards include both Reviewer's Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.

Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.

To connect with the author online:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. A superhero read? Sounds good too :)

  2. Hmm, interesting. I think I'd like this one.

  3. I've never read a superhero book. Sounds cool!

  4. I do enjoy me a superhero, this may be a good summer read along with all of the summer blockbuster movies. =)

    -Amanda P

    Where the Night Kind Roam

  5. Thanks for sharing the excerpt and the giveaway. Sounds like a great book.

  6. I was an only everything for a long time too! Was the first kid in the neighborhood/family for years so was a little, erm, strange when I finally went to pre-school. lol

    Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the intro to it Judy!

  7. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Terri L. Austin and Larissa Reinhart. I also have a guest post by LynDee Walker. I have done reviews on all three of these ladies works as well as Susan Boyers. I agree that Henery Press has done a fabulous job of picking some of the best new authors I have had the pleasure to read. I haven't checked out any others yet, but I hope to get to them soon. Glad you are enjoying them as much as I am. Trust me, everytime I see a tour for one of these ladies, I am right there. :) Just stay tuned.

  8. Larissa gives good Interview. I actually signed up for this tour before the tour for the second book in the series by a different tour company, and reqested an interview on both of them. *head smack* Miss Reinhart managed to keep the interview fresh, even though she just had just done these same questions in October. She just keeps earning my respect. :)

  9. Yeah, the superhero thing is my geek side coming out. I just can't pass up a man in tights.... *grin*

  10. I will be reviewing it, for the 19th. Feel free to come back and check it out.

  11. I love me some superhero books. My geek side just can't help it. :D

  12. LOL let out that geek side Judy! Love it. I haven't read too many superheroes. I could swear I've read one but for the sec I can't place a name on it. Sounds fun though!

  13. LOL oops! I thought I remembered another one. Heh. Well it was great :)


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